Jane Gamble calls squirrels her “default.” She’s a passionate birder and amateur photographer who can often be found training her camera lens on birds at Huntley Meadows and Dyke Marsh in Virginia. But when the birds aren’t cooperating, she’ll turn to the squirrels.

“I think for wildlife photographers, squirrels are like Victoria’s Secret models,” Gamble said. “They’re easy to photograph and they always look good.”

Gamble’s lovely photo of an Eastern gray squirrel reaching up to some pink crepe myrtle blossoms as rain begins to fall is the winner of the 2020 Washington Post Squirrel Week Squirrel Photography Contest.

Camp tails
In Squirrel Week 2019, I wrote about the Kluane Red Squirrel Project. Since 1987, scientists have been living in Canada’s remote Yukon territory and studying the critters.

I wondered if the coronavirus pandemic would shutter what’s affectionately called “Squirrel Camp.” Ben Dantzer, an animal behaviorist at the University of Michigan who has been going to Kluane since 2006, said it was vital that research continue.

Last year was a “mast year,” he said, when white spruce trees produce a superabundance of cones, the squirrels’ favorite food.

“What this means for the squirrels is [they] breed extra early: Whenever there is high food in the autumn, squirrels breed much earlier in the spring,” Dantzer wrote in an email.

Because of that, Squirrel Camp opened early this year. That proved fortuitous, because researchers were already in place before travel restrictions came down. For now, six scientists are staying there, monitoring the squirrels and reducing contact with the outside world.

Read the full article at the Washington Post.